Quang Ngai, Vietnam—Michael Demian, Interplast associate director of foundation and corporate relations.
At clinic the next morning, all still in our traveling clothes from the past two days, we entered the hospital with excitement, ready to meet the many patients whose journeys were likely harder than ours. With anxiety clear in their expressions, the parents and the children waited patiently in the heat and chaos with the desperate hope of being chosen for surgery. Without a Polaroid camera, paperwork, pens, files, or anything else that would normally be used on clinic day, the volunteers successfully completed around 120 examinations with the help of their wits, creativity, fellow team members, and the kindness of the staff at the Da Khoa Quang Ngai hospital.
Eighty-five patients were scheduled for surgeries over the next two weeks…a few return patients from last year and an extraordinary number of palate surgeries were among the scheduled.
Once the luggage, boxes, and our courageous translators made it to Quang Ngai later that afternoon, the team began setting up the operating and recovery rooms at 6 p.m (a task that would normally occur simultaneously with the examinations). By around 9 p.m., the dedication of all the volunteers, especially the head nurse, Beverly Zuber, was evident by the fact that in three short hours, everything was unpacked and ready for our first day of surgery the next morning.